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Book Review (+ Giveaway!): The Saturday Night Supper Club

5 Mar

About the Book

Title: The Saturday Night Supper Club

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian fiction/romance fiction

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t…

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Impressions:

Warning:  If you are on a diet, be sure to stock healthy snacks before opening this book, otherwise the delicious descriptions of Chef Rachel’s creations will have you searching your cabinets and take-out menus for substitutes to quench your cravings! Seriously, The Saturday Night Supper Club does have the yummiest foodie scenes around, but it is the main characters’ real lives that will have you turning the pages while you munch on celery. Carla Laureano is a new-to-me author (how have I gone so long without reading her books?!), and this first book in her newest series has me clamoring for more. I loved everything about this book — the hip foodie environment of Denver, the engaging character’s search for meaning and purpose aligned with God’s will, and the sweet and spicy romance that will leave you swooning along with Rachel. Towards the end of the book, I found some real nuggets of truth that resonated with the insecure part of my psyche — Somewhere along the way, she’d begun to think that when she asked for something good, God would repay her with some pale counterfeit. Wow, I really needed to hear that. Usually I take copious notes while reading a book, but as I closed the cover on this novel, I found I had read straight through without pausing to jot down my thoughts. Bad for writing a review, but great for a satisfying reading experience. I found myself fully immersed in the story; few things drew me up to the surface. The Saturday Night Supper Club is a book I will not hesitate to recommend to friends, acquaintances, and grocery store strangers. Get a copy and start the fun!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Guest Post From Carla Laureano

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Rachel Scott McDaniel, February 20

A Baker’s Perspective, February 20

Just Commonly, February 20

Mommynificent, February 21

Among The Reads, February 21

A Greater Yes, February 21

proud to be an autism mom, February 21

Fiction Aficionado, February 22

Quiet Quilter, February 22

The Power of Words, February 23

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Janices book reviews, February 24

C Jane Read, February 24

Faery Tales Are Real, February 24

All of a Kind Mom, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 26

Smiling Book Reviews, February 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 26

Splashes of Joy, February 27

Its Storytime with Van Daniker, February 27

Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest post from Mindy)

Radiant Light, February 28

Moments Dipped in Ink, February 28

Baker kella, February 28

Pause for Tales, March 1

Book by Book, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 2

Bibliophile Reviews, March 3

Two Points of Interest, March 3

Reading is my Super Power, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

amandainpa, March 4

Singing Librarian Books, March 4

By The Book, March 5

Neverending Stories, March 5

Pursuing Stacie, March 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/c9b4

First Line Friday — The Saturday Night Supper Club

23 Feb

If you want to find some fabulous books, you need to do what I’ve been doing — visiting the many blogs that are participating in Hoarding Books’ First Line Friday. What a great way to discover new books and new authors. Make sure to check out their site. But first check out my first line and then leave a comment with your first line!

 

My first line comes from Carla Laureano‘s newest novel, The Saturday Night Supper Club. This is also the first book I will read by Laureano. Stay tuned for my review next month.

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . .  even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life―and love ― outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Connect with Carla online at her website (http://www.carlalaureano.com) or on any of these social media platforms:

Facebook.com/CarlaLaureanoAuthor
Twitter.com/carlalaureano
Instagram.com/carlalaureanoauthor

Top Ten Tuesday — From 2nd to 1st

10 Aug

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about giving secondary characters some love. I decided to feature book series in which secondary characters — friends and/or family — from the first book are the main characters in subsequent books. This is a common practice in series, so it wasn’t hard to find some favorites. I’ve included a a variety of genres, so you should be able to find plenty of books to love.

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Series Featuring Secondary Characters

Blue Justice series by Lynette Eason

Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade

Capital Intrigue series by Rachel Dylan

Chicory Inn series by Deborah Raney

Hidden Justice series by Cara Putman

Orphan Train series by Jody Hedlund

A Patchwork Family series by Karen Witemeyer

Saturday Night Supper Club series by Carla Laureano

Three Sisters Island series by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Triple Threat Club series by Lis Wiehl

Top 10 Tuesday: Series Not Finished — Yet!

12 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is to list books DNFed (did not finish). I very rarely do not finish a book — it goes against my DNA. 😉 However, I do on occasion not finish series. Why? Not for lack of want to. The following series that I have not finished — yet — are great. I just need to carve out some time to read the remaining books. If you are still stuck at home, you may want to consider these. But don’t be like me. Finish every single page!

For more incomplete book confessions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Book Series I Have Not Finished — Yet!

 

Blue Justice Series by Lynette Eason

 

Gwen Marcey Series by Carrie Stuart Parks

 

The Saturday Night Supper Club Series by Carla Laureano

 

Secrets of The Shetlands Series by Michael Phillips

 

The Silent Years Series by Angela Hunt

2019 Inspy Awards Shortlists!

4 May

A big congratulations to all the talented authors whose books are represented on the 2019 Inspy Award Shortlists! So many great books Now you have your summer reading list! 😉

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Debut Fiction

Among The Poppies by J’Nell Ciesielski

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Historical Romance

Romancing The Bride by Melissa Jagears

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Literature for Young Adults

The Edge Over There by Shawn Smucker

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Mystery/Thriller

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Speculative Fiction

Fierian by Ronie Kendig

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Top 10 Tuesday — 2018 New-To-Me Authors

15 Jan

I read a number of new-to-me and debut authors in 2018. Great books all! And a promise of more great books to come! Because I am an eclectic reader, you will find romance, women’s fiction, dual-time stories, mystery, and suspense in the mix — something for just about everyone. I hope you find a new-to-you author to enjoy.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for other bloggers’ new-to-them authors.

Top New-To-Me Authors

 

Lynn Blackburn — Beneath The Surface

 

Lindsey Brackett — Still Waters

 

Lisa Carter — A Vast and Gracious Tide

 

Lauren K. Denton — Hurricane Season

 

Lindsay Harrel — The Heart Between Us

 

Carla Laureano — The Saturday Night Supper Club

 

Valerie Fraser Luesse — Missing Isaac

 

Lisa McKay — My Hands Came Away Red

 

Sarah Monzon — Freedom’s Kiss

 

Jaime Jo Wright — The House on Foster Hill

 

2019 Carol Award Finalists!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the talented authors who are finalists for the 2019 Carol Awards. Sponsored by ACFW, the winners will be announced at the annual conference in San Antonio. Your summer TBR stack just got taller!

Contemporary

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

Miles From Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Historical 

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

 

Historical Romance

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Across The Blue by Carrie Turansky

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Cascade by Janice Boekhoff

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Novella

In Sheep’s Clothing from A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

Her Redcoat from The Backcountry Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

MissTaken Identity from The MissAdventure Brides Collection by Kimberley Woodhouse

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

 

Romantic Suspense

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

 

Short Novel

A Widow’s Hope by Vanetta Chapman

The Rancher’s Surprise Daughter by Jill Lynn

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

 

Young Adult

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Common by Laurie Lucking

 

Debut

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

Best of 2018

7 Jan

2018 was noteworthy for excellent books. I had a hard time paring the best of list down, so I made two top 10 lists — one contemporary and one historical. I hope you can find a book you’ll love on these lists.

Top 10 Contemporary Novels

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

*The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Top 10 Historical Novels 

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

*The House of Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

*Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018

1 Jan

I am bowled over by the number of excellent books I read in 2018! It was very, very, very hard to come up with a list of the best, let alone trying to limit it to just 10! So I cheated (of course) and made two Top 10 Lists — one contemporary and one historical. And before you say but, but . . . I know that three of the books on the historical list are dual timelines, but without the historical component, the book would not have existed. There is also plenty of suspense and romance — really something for everyone on this list. Those with an asterisk were book club books that got unanimous thumbs up! I hope you find one or two (or all) that will pique your interest.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ best of the best lists.

 

Top 10 Contemporary Novels of 2018

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

*The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Top 10 Historical Novels of 2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

*The House of Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

*Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

What book was your favorite in 2018?

Top 10 Tuesday — In a reading slump? Read these books now!

21 Aug

Reading slumps, ugh. When you want to read, but you just can’t seem to get into the books you pull from your shelves. What to do? Read the books on my list! I recommend all these books, they are quick to capture the attention and keep it. I’ve divided them into categories (2 per genre) so that you can find exactly the book you want to read.

Want other book recs? Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more.

 

Top Books to Beat A Slump

 

Historical (with some romance)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Mystery

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

 

Romantic Suspense

Vanished by Irene Hannon

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

 

Small Town Contemporary Series (with romance)

Hope Harbor series by Irene Hannon

A Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong

 

Suspense

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

 

:)